Dr Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Lichfield

The Bishop of Lichfield has joined calls for more support to be provided to people applying for Universal Credit after reports of a surge of demand at food banks in areas where the benefit has been introduced.

A petition has been brought by the End Hunger UK campaign calling on the Government to “fix” the controversial benefits system by providing more help and a more flexible system for those claiming it.

The campaign has now been backed by the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Geoff Annas, and the Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory.

Bishops Geoff Annas, Michael Ipgrave and Clive Gregory
In a joint statement, the three bishops said: “We have signed the End Hunger UK petition – we would like to also encourage parishes and churchgoers across Lichfield Diocese to do likewise.

“More and more families have had to turn to food banks following the introduction of Universal Credit, and are reporting unintended delays, lack of digital support, poor administration, and a lack of flexibility in the system. All of these problems can and should be resolved.

“In our diocese alone, there are 13 Trussell Trust food banks, which last year distributed 31,376 emergency food parcels to people in crisis. There are also at least 29 independent food banks. Many of our local churches do quite remarkable work, helping to meet the need in their communities but we must proactively reduce the need for food banks in the first place.

“We need urgent action to improve the flexibility and support for people on Universal Credit, and a long-term commitment that the social security system will provide enough income to afford good food on a regular basis. Without such action, we can expect to see more and more people turning to food banks and becoming trapped in poverty, as more people are moved on to Universal Credit.”

The call comes after The Trussell Trust reported a 52 per cent increase in food bank use in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out, as well as rising debt, destitution and hunger.

People can sign the petition, which will be presented to the Prime Minister ahead of the Budget in November, online.


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

2 replies on “Bishop of Lichfield backs petition calling on Government to “fix” Universal Credit system”

  1. Maybe, if the Church of England made Amazon pay a fair amount of tax, rather than just profiting from Amazons tax arrangements. The government would have more money to spend on benefits.

    The Church of England has said it will keep its shares in Amazon – a day after the Archbishop of Canterbury said the firm was “leeching off the taxpayer”.

    The Church Times has revealed Amazon was among the 20 biggest global investments by the Church last year.


  2. It’s not just a problem with the newer “Universal Credit” system, the existing benefits system is in a complete shambles, for people with disabilities claiming Disability Living Allowance that have been moved to Personal Independence Payments or having their Employment Support Allowance allowances cut because of unfair and harsh reviews.
    The whole system is broken, the United Nations has even asked the UK government to carry out a full review, which it has no interest in doing, DWP Minister Esther Mcvey has recently said that Universal credit is “A great British innovation” just days after a damning National Audit Office report telling them the opposite, this Conservative Government has no intention of sorting out Universal Credit or any other part of the benefit system, so the problems stack up and the queues at the Foodbanks get longer.
    Blame the CofE church who don’t have a foodbank in Lichfield if you like (Baptists and Life Church have them), blame Amazon and get Amazon to pay their taxes, sign the petition, but getting somebody in this present government to actually do something effective about the present benefits system is very unlikely, it is going to take a change of government and a considerable amount of time and effort before it is made fit for the purpose of genuine need.

Comments are closed.